by Martin G. Collins
In this healing miracle, Jesus Christ heals two blind men in Capernaum, probably in Peter's house (Matthew 9:27-31). Peter saw Jesus work several miracles in his house: the healing of his mother-in-law, the healing of the paralytic who was let down through the roof to come before Him, and this restoration of sight to the blind men.
Blindness seems to have been a more common problem in biblical times than today. Afflictions in those times were worse because people lived under poorer conditions and had limited access to medical care, if any was available at all. Nevertheless, these people had hope, for Isaiah 35:5 prophesies of the Messiah and His work: "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped." This prophecy has a physical and a spiritual fulfillment. When Christ came to earth in the flesh, He healed many physically blind people. More importantly, though, He brought spiritual healing to many by opening their minds to see principles that lead to spiritual life.
Blindness is an appropriate description of sin's effect. For example, a prophecy in Zephaniah 1:17 says, "I will bring distress upon men, and they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord." Sin causes people to grope spiritually at noon just as the blind grope in darkness (Deuteronomy 28:29). Sin puts us in darkness as blindness does, but spiritual darkness is a far worse darkness than its physical counterpart.
Spiritual blindness has only one remedy: Jesus Christ dwelling in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. In this healing of the two blind men, Jesus was physically before them, but for Christians, He is spiritually and personally available to us through the indwelling of His Spirit (John 14:20-23).
1. Why is it vital for Christians to be awake to opportunities?
Comment: As Christ passes by, the two blind men have the ultimate opportunity, and they take advantage of it. He did not pass by every day. If the two men had not pursued Him for healing at once, they may never have had another opportunity to be healed. Spiritually, the same is true for everyone. God opens doors of opportunity for salvation and service, but very few take Him up on it: "For many are called but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14). A person must pass through those doors quickly, or they will close and the opportunity will be forever squandered (Matthew 25:6-12; Revelation 3:20). A Christian may also miss rendering service to others because he fails to take advantage of opportunities. With opportunities come blessings, and if an opportunity is missed, so are the blessings.
2. Why do the two blind men follow Christ? Matthew 9:27.
Comment: If we want blessings from Christ, we must follow Him. The blind men desired physical sight and so followed Him. Those who are indifferent in their faithfulness to Christ will have trouble receiving any blessing from Him, for He treats His followers differently from those who do not follow Him. Even a church member will complain at times of a lack of God's blessings in his life, but it may be that he has not followed Christ diligently and recognized the abundance of spiritual blessings he has received. God even goes so far as to warn His ministers that, if we fail to take to heart His warning about due diligence in serving Him with integrity, He will curse us (Malachi 2:1-2).
Christ calls, "Follow Me!" (Matthew 4:19; 8:22; Luke 18:22), but following is not easy because, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Mark 8:34).
3. What positive characteristics do the two blind men exhibit?
Comment: With an attitude of humility (Proverbs 15:33), the blind men seek Jesus' mercy in healing, giving Him praise and honor. We have no merits for any blessing from God. As Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8-9, these things are given by grace, not because of anything we are or have done.
The blind men not only honor Christ in their request, but also humble themselves. They do not ask Him to be just to them, for all have sinned and deserve death (Romans 3:23), but in their humility they ask for mercy. Had they asked for justice, they would have been asking for their "rights." Demanding rights is an arrogant approach, the opposite of humility. In emphasizing rights, a person ignores his responsibilities.
Another positive characteristic the blind men exemplify is that they continue to follow Christ until they receive an answer to their request—they persevere. In spite of the crowds, they keep following Him along the road, and when He stops and enters a house, they do not give up but go into the house after Him. When we do not receive an answer to a prayer the first few times we ask, we often quit praying and sometimes indirectly accuse God of failing to act on our behalf. However, delay in answering prayer is not necessarily denial. It may be to test our faith and strengthen it.
If we desire blessings from God, we have to persevere in pursuing them. God does not usually give special blessings to those who seek them half-heartedly. As parents, we use the same method with our own children. We sometimes delay our response until we know whether they are truly sincere in their request and desire, and until we determine how important it is to them and how hard they are willing to work for it.